DM Civil’s War Horse - Cat 980G front end loader

April 2020

DMC owns and operates a Cat 980G front end loader. It is an often forgotten, unassuming and at times maligned item of plant.

The Cat 980G has recently been in regular daily, plus night shift use for loading and carting excavated rock from our works at a mine near Leinster.

The excavation is a part of infrastructure work to develop a new vertical head frame access shaft, rather than access via the current open pit and tunnels for the extraction of the resource. 

Our Tesmec TRS1475 rocksaw has excavated, via a unique method of sequenced trenches and floors, approximately 15,000m3 of rock to a depth of 13.5m.

Two Cat 336EL excavators were used to excavate and stockpile the trenched material on each box-out floor, for the Cat 980G loader to uplift and cart up a ramp and stockpile for later use.

The stockpiled material is now being used as backfill in a disused turkeys nest dam, which is at the location of one of the proposed two mammoth concrete footings for the head frame backstays, approximately 200 metres away.

Our Tesmec TRS1475, was fitted with its new GPS monitor and linked to a survey base station, which was uploaded with the pit excavation design, with alignments and depths of all cuts. It has done a magnificent job and will be of tremendous benefit in the future for peg-less position, orientation and depth control, particularly on “graded” pipelines.That however is another story for another day.

The other stand-out star, which DMC site personnel have nick named “DMC’s War Horse” was the Cat 980G, which has outperformed all expectations on site and also some in the office. It has been the perfect machine for this job. The Cat 980G picks up a whopping 5.4m3, nearly 10 tonnes of rock, 13.5 metres below the surface and carts it up a 100 metre long ramp, with an incline of 8 degrees, in its stride, only to return and do the same thing again and again on a nearly full time cycle. This is during a 12 hour day shift and then, after refuelling, grease and maintenance check, straight into a 12 hour night shift. 

Many team members at DM Civil consider the loader slow; however in every one of the 4 gears the Cat 980 is up to 6% faster than the same gears in our new Cat 950H loaders. One bucket load in the Cat 980G is 5.4m3 compared to 2.9m3 for a Cat 950H.

Due to the cycle time of manoeuvring, loading, manoeuvring and dumping the Cat 980G far outstrips the performance of two Cat 950H’s. This is because, for every one bucket load of the Cat 980 there is approximately 30 seconds spent in these loading and dumping moves compared to two 30 second cycles for the equivalent with two Cat 950H’s, plus the near equivalent travel speed.

Robert LeTourneau, who was born in 1888 and died in 1969, was arguably the world’s most prolific inventor of earthmoving machinery, particularly extremely large earth moving equipment. He was famous for his saying: “The secret to success in the earthmoving business was having the cheapest dollars per cubic yard of dirt moved.” This comment is still valid today as demonstrated above. 

DM Civil’s Cat 980G moved material 36% cheaper than if we had used two of our latest Cat 950H’s. On this latest project, it has been estimated that DM Civil saved our client $36,000.00 by using DM Civil’s “Old and Slow” Cat 980G, instead of two “New and Fast” Cat 950H’s.

We ask everyone at DM Civil to reconsider, that often sometimes what is thought and at times said, is not necessarily the truth. It’s only when you are prepared to challenge your thinking and look at the facts that you will discover the real truth. This is probably the lesson to be learnt from this particular project.

The Cat 980G has performed faultlessly, in extremely high heat and arduous conditions and is truly worthy of recognition as DM Civil’s War Horse.